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2005 - Disney, Animal Kingdom, & KSC

I hadn't been to Disney in about 20 years, so this was a really neat trip for us to share. I had won a free airline voucher as a door prize at our company's summer picnic, and before letting it expire, we decided Disney would be a good place to go. Neither of us had been to the Animal Kingdom, and I had never been to the MGM Studio, and Kat had never been to KSC (Kennedy Space Center), so this included some new with the old. And of course, to me it was one huge opportunity to revisit the Haunted Mansion!

After spending the first day of our vacation just getting there, and getting settled intothe hotel, our second day was actually our first day to hit the amusement parks. Westarted with Epcot, and this was the view from the car as we pulled into the parkinglot. The smirk on this lady's face was because I was taking the picture while driving. :)
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
After spending the first day of our vacation just getting there, and getting settled into the hotel, our second day was actually our first day to hit the amusement parks. We started with Epcot, and this was the view from the car as we pulled into the parking lot. The smirk on this lady's face was because I was taking the picture while driving. :)

Something interesting to see is that they made widespread use of Segways in Disney, for avariety of staff purposes.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
Something interesting to see is that they made widespread use of Segways in Disney, for a variety of staff purposes.

The "Jamitors" (not sure if I spelled that right) where percussion musicians whoused trash cans and a gong to make very interesting drum music. It was quite a performance!
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
The "Jamitors" (not sure if I spelled that right) where percussion musicians who used trash cans and a gong to make very interesting drum music. It was quite a performance!

These guys were quite entertaining.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
These guys were quite entertaining.

Epcot also had musical robots. This one had two percussion mallets with whichit would strike various metal plates and objects.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
Epcot also had musical robots. This one had two percussion mallets with which it would strike various metal plates and objects.

This robot did several things, the more interesting of which was to play thesepipes with an air hose.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
This robot did several things, the more interesting of which was to play these pipes with an air hose.

Japan, in Epcot's World Showcase.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
Japan, in Epcot's World Showcase.

More Japan. This is where they held the Taiko Drumming performance.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
More Japan. This is where they held the Taiko Drumming performance.

My lovely girlfriend, as we were waiting for the Taiko drummers to begin. Isn'tshe lovely? :)
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
My lovely girlfriend, as we were waiting for the Taiko drummers to begin. Isn't she lovely? :)

While we waited, I also took pictures of the Koi pond and surrounding gardens.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
While we waited, I also took pictures of the Koi pond and surrounding gardens.

The Koi. I need to build one of these, someday. :)
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
The Koi. I need to build one of these, someday. :)

Both of us, in front of the Koi pond.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
Both of us, in front of the Koi pond.

The actual Taiko performers. The performance wasn't long, but was quite impressive.The guy on the left in this picture really got into it, but they were all veryinteresting to watch. It's as much about style as it is about the music.
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
The actual Taiko performers. The performance wasn't long, but was quite impressive. The guy on the left in this picture really got into it, but they were all very interesting to watch. It's as much about style as it is about the music.

Morocco, in Epcot's World Showcase... Me, next to a fountain. :)
^topThrusday, June 30, 2005
Morocco, in Epcot's World Showcase... Me, next to a fountain. :)

Our second day of hitting the parks, we chose to go to The Magic Kingdom. On theway in, I snapped off this picture of the castle.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
Our second day of hitting the parks, we chose to go to The Magic Kingdom. On the way in, I snapped off this picture of the castle.

Of course, early in the day, we had to take a trip over to one of my favorites...The Haunted Mansion. Muahahaah!!
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
Of course, early in the day, we had to take a trip over to one of my favorites... The Haunted Mansion. Muahahaah!!

On the way out, Kat took my picture in front of the horse-drawn hearse.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
On the way out, Kat took my picture in front of the horse-drawn hearse.

I actually took several pictures of the mosaics in the base of the castle, but this oneis of course the best since it has Kat. :) It's amazing the level of detail and artwork that abounds everywhere within the disney property.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
I actually took several pictures of the mosaics in the base of the castle, but this one is of course the best since it has Kat. :) It's amazing the level of detail and artwork that abounds everywhere within the disney property.

An interesting little garden amphitheater. We didn't manage to catch a show there, howeverwe passed it several times and took a liking to the stonework and lanterns.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
An interesting little garden amphitheater. We didn't manage to catch a show there, however we passed it several times and took a liking to the stonework and lanterns.

The mid-day parade, which started just in time to get rained on. Kat was holding the umbrellaup high enough over me to keep it out of the camera shot. This is Pinnochio's float.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
The mid-day parade, which started just in time to get rained on. Kat was holding the umbrella up high enough over me to keep it out of the camera shot. This is Pinnochio's float.

The villain float. It had even more to see on the back, but I only got this picture of thefront of it.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
The villain float. It had even more to see on the back, but I only got this picture of the front of it.

Ah, the mouse-ears... Matching top-hat and veil, for the honeymoon couples to wear. :)
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
Ah, the mouse-ears... Matching top-hat and veil, for the honeymoon couples to wear. :)

Another random encounter with a musical performance. This barber-shop quartet had an interestingset of chimes, used similarly to a bell-choir arrangement.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
Another random encounter with a musical performance. This barber-shop quartet had an interesting set of chimes, used similarly to a bell-choir arrangement.

Tomorrowland in The Magic Kingdom. This was the entrance arch. A wonderful view of the future that never was, so to speak. :)
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
Tomorrowland in The Magic Kingdom. This was the entrance arch. A wonderful view of the future that never was, so to speak. :)

From nearly the same position, I zoomed in on the rotating planetary display on the distantbuilding.
^topFriday, July 1, 2005
From nearly the same position, I zoomed in on the rotating planetary display on the distant building.

On our third day of visiting the parks, we decided to start the day in Disney's Animal Kingdom.We weren't sure quite what to expect, but enjoyed it thoroughly. We started the day with theAfrican Safari. This picture shows some of the elephants we saw.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
On our third day of visiting the parks, we decided to start the day in Disney's Animal Kingdom. We weren't sure quite what to expect, but enjoyed it thoroughly. We started the day with the African Safari. This picture shows some of the elephants we saw.

And this shot is of the flamingos. We also saw tigers, aligators, giraffes, and more.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
And this shot is of the flamingos. We also saw tigers, aligators, giraffes, and more.

.. and rhinos.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
.. and rhinos.

On the jungle-trail, we saw a variety of creatures. This little fellow was on guard-duty, watchingover all of us, ready to alert his friends at the first sight of trouble.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
On the jungle-trail, we saw a variety of creatures. This little fellow was on guard-duty, watching over all of us, ready to alert his friends at the first sight of trouble.

The Tree of Life.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
The Tree of Life.

One of the very-large bats we saw.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
One of the very-large bats we saw.

And a tiger, who was licking the wall for some reason.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
And a tiger, who was licking the wall for some reason.

A big surprise, we spotted a woman doing a live-statuary sort of thing. We almostwouldn't have spotted her, except for the fact that her handler was a few feet awayand there were a few other people staring.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
A big surprise, we spotted a woman doing a live-statuary sort of thing. We almost wouldn't have spotted her, except for the fact that her handler was a few feet away and there were a few other people staring.

The ever-beautiful Kat, at the Animal Kingdom.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
The ever-beautiful Kat, at the Animal Kingdom.

For the second half of our 3rd day, we went to Disney/MGM Studios. One of the earlierrides we went on was the Star Tours (Star Wars themed) ride, and I took this pictureof the droids while in line. The one of the left talks to everyone, and said "Why don'tyou take a picture; It'll last longer!"... So I did! :)
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
For the second half of our 3rd day, we went to Disney/MGM Studios. One of the earlier rides we went on was the Star Tours (Star Wars themed) ride, and I took this picture of the droids while in line. The one of the left talks to everyone, and said "Why don't you take a picture; It'll last longer!"... So I did! :)

In the streets at MGM, they have several false-perspective backgrounds to make it look likeyou're in certain cities. The is the San Francisco backdrop. The road actually ends at the reddish fence, with the entire distance view being a painted backdrop. Kat also took a picture of me infront of the New York backdrop, but it didn't come out as well.
^topSaturday, July 2, 2005
In the streets at MGM, they have several false-perspective backgrounds to make it look like you're in certain cities. The is the San Francisco backdrop. The road actually ends at the reddish fence, with the entire distance view being a painted backdrop. Kat also took a picture of me in front of the New York backdrop, but it didn't come out as well.

On our fourth day, we started out at Kennedy Space Center. We started with the bus tour.This view shows the VAB (Vehicular Assembly Building), and to the lower left of it is themain mission-control center.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
On our fourth day, we started out at Kennedy Space Center. We started with the bus tour. This view shows the VAB (Vehicular Assembly Building), and to the lower left of it is the main mission-control center.

From the Observation Gantry, we could see the launch pad where Discovery was being preparedfor it's return to flight. This would be the first launch since the Columbia accident, howeverwe were probably a few weeks too early for the launch itself.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
From the Observation Gantry, we could see the launch pad where Discovery was being prepared for it's return to flight. This would be the first launch since the Columbia accident, however we were probably a few weeks too early for the launch itself.

Still in the gantry, I took this picture of a shuttle engine on display. The bell actually extends a bit further down than you can see in this picture, sincethe floor obscures it. This engine was actually used for a number of flights beforebeing retired.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
Still in the gantry, I took this picture of a shuttle engine on display. The bell actually extends a bit further down than you can see in this picture, since the floor obscures it. This engine was actually used for a number of flights before being retired.

Me, next to a space capsule, sort-of. This was actually a photo-booth.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
Me, next to a space capsule, sort-of. This was actually a photo-booth.

The back end of the Saturn-V rocket on display in the bus-tour. I angled this shot toinclude people for scale.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
The back end of the Saturn-V rocket on display in the bus-tour. I angled this shot to include people for scale.

This is the large Astronaut Memorial. It's actually a black-colored stone, but veryglossy. The reflection of the sky and clouds disguises the color. The lettering isengraved in a golden color. Click the picture for the full-resolution raw image (3.2megapixel, 983kb) from my camera, in which you can read the names.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
This is the large Astronaut Memorial. It's actually a black-colored stone, but very glossy. The reflection of the sky and clouds disguises the color. The lettering is engraved in a golden color. Click the picture for the full-resolution raw image (3.2 megapixel, 983kb) from my camera, in which you can read the names.

Behind me, when I took the previous picture, were several other memorial plaques.This one commemorated all of the astronauts lost.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
Behind me, when I took the previous picture, were several other memorial plaques. This one commemorated all of the astronauts lost.

At the end of our last day, we decided to drive down to Cocoa Beach. As we walked fromthe wonderful little seafood restaurant we visited, we saw this rainbow.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
At the end of our last day, we decided to drive down to Cocoa Beach. As we walked from the wonderful little seafood restaurant we visited, we saw this rainbow.

My dearest, standing on the beach.
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
My dearest, standing on the beach.

As our evening drew to a close, we got to watch the sun set, with the warm ocean water gently washing overour feet. It was a perfect ending to a perfect vacation. :)
^topSunday, July 3, 2005
As our evening drew to a close, we got to watch the sun set, with the warm ocean water gently washing over our feet. It was a perfect ending to a perfect vacation. :)

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